Hornbill Unleashed

February 4, 2014

Choosing politics over results

Filed under: Politics — Hornbill Unleashed @ 8:00 AM
Tags: , , , ,

Adam Reza

When will our politicians move on from the business of politicking and finally come to the business of governing Malaysia?

The year is 2014, fresh from GE13 last May, fresh from a by-election in Sungai Limau in Kedah and right after the Umno elections – which is widely considered to be the ultimate display of Malay centric politics on steroids, and one could be forgiven for thinking that political crazy season was over.

And just as we were ready to move on from all the skull drudgery that comes with elections, political crazy season is back.

Once again, Malaysians will have to bear with more politicking in the form of yet another by-election that will potentially cost Malaysian taxpayers RM2 million.

This time, the stage is set in Kajang, and it follows the resignation of the youthful and Azmin Ali-linked Lee Chin Cheh. To add to this, Anwar Ibrahim is set to be fielded as PKR’s candidate in the by-elections and this move is widely slated as a means to pave the way for Anwar to become the next Menteri Besar of Selangor.

All this is set to occur with increasingly fragile interfaith relations, declining education standards and rising living costs in the backdrop, which begs the question, when will our politicians move on from the business of politicking and finally come to the business of governing Malaysia?

That aside, the political situation in Selangor has been quite the roller coaster ride recently and has seen a power struggle develop between the current Menteri Besar Khalid Ibrahim and PKR deputy president Azmin.

While tensions have flared in the past, many chose to not take it too seriously, with Azmin often described as a petulant spoiled child in this conflict. But more importantly, many did not consider Azmin to be a serious threat as Khalid has always seemed to have the solid backing of the people of Selangor and coalition partners DAP and PAS.

Thus, the news that Anwar is tipped to replace Khalid as MB in the likely event that he wins in Kajang came as a shock to many.

Despite Khalid’s lack of political acumen, he has excelled as an administrator of the state. When this former CEO of PNB took over as Menteri Besar of Selangor in 2008, he was bequeathed with a Selangor that was ridden with deficits and debts.

In 2013, the situation had been completely overturned. The Selangor government delivered a balanced budget with reserves of RM2.8 billion, the highest amount in nearly 30 years.

Given the stunning results delivered by the man who orchestrated the return of Guthrie to Malaysian hands when he was at the helm of PNB, it seems as if it does not make sense to replace this man.

As the saying goes if it ain’t broke don’t fix it.

Tactical nous?

The only major explanation for this debacle was put forward by PKR director of strategies Rafizi Ramli.

Regarding the costs of holding the by-election, his way of making up for the hard-earned tax dollars that will be spent to hold this election was by saying “I’m sorry” – as you do – and by describing this as a mere manoeuvre in a “scheme” or “game” that has been dubbed the “Kajang Move”, as if to prove that tactical nous had been employed in its design.

He pointed out the need to fortify Pakatan’s hold on Selangor and thus shield it from being taken over by Umno.

The last time I heard, there is no political resurgence within Umno. Furthermore, the last GE saw Pakatan Rakyat add eight seats in the Selangor State Legislative Assembly, claiming the scalps of political heavyweights such as Zin Mohamed along the way.

Post-GE and public attitude towards BN has deteriorated, with a survey by Merdeka Center showing that more people are increasingly unhappy with BN’s leadership under the PM.

Considering both BN’s dampening appeal, coupled with Khalid’s transformation of the state, Rafizi’s justification simply does not add up.

There have been several theories to explain this move, the most feasible of which is that this represents a move to put a lid on the rift between Azmin and Khalid which has blown out of control following Azmin’s removal from the board of PKNS.

Ever the astute politician, Anwar knows that should Azmin replace Khalid, it will risk angering voters and coalition partners alike.

In the event that Khalid remains, this could see the conflict further escalate into a paralysis in the running of state affairs.

Unfortunately Anwar’s move has disappointed and alienated many of his staunchest supporters.

This includes his former staffer Nathaniel Tan who chided the Kajang scheme as “the arrival of the dreaded day where sanity deserts us in favour of much less savoury pursuits, the day that the line is at last crossed”.

And with the recent revelation from Khalid that the palace may not consent to him being replaced, this move to solve internal conflicts by choosing politics over results could yet backfire and cause major embarrassment.

Big gamble

It is interesting to note that in Rafizi’s statement he compared Anwar to Winston Churchill.

This may seem a remarkable comparison but to Anwar’s credit, despite the obvious absence of war time experience, one can draw parallels from their tenures as heads of their countries respective treasuries, where in 1925 Churchill controversially returned the pound sterling to the gold standard at its pre-war parity which led to economic turmoil in Great Britain, and in 1998 where Anwar oversaw the disastrous management of the Asian crisis that led to his removal.

If anything, this debacle ignores one certain character and that is Khalid who has found himself the victim of the night of the long knives like Vincent Del Bosque, the coach who led Real Madrid to the Champions League in 2002 only to be sacked. This then lead to Barcelona knocking them off their perch and years without success.

The Kajang scheme is a big gamble that seeks to ameliorate the inability to manage internal conflict by choosing politics for the sake of it over the stellar results delivered by Khalid.

If this is any indicator of a template to resolve future internal rifts, then the signs aren’t good.


1 Comment »

  1. Anwar is the last chance Malaysia has to fight for Justice and Fairness for all, as he has always done. he is a tested Mlaysian and International Leader. He and his family have gone through and are still going through incredible torture! He is a shock absorber. he fought then PM for his rights, he went to jail on trumped up charges, emerged from personal and mental fatigue to continue the fight for Reformasi. He united the Opposition parties with different ideologies and led it to 53 pct support of the Rakyat in the last GE. He could have enjoyed himself, if he was such cheap character, by taking a Blank Cheque which was offered to him and then resigning as Deputy PM. He defied all threats by his Boss who manipulated all pawns to shut Anwar in Jail! ALLAH is with DSAI. That is why he has risen up from his grave. KAJANG VOTERS MUST GIVE HIM FULL SUPPORT. CURSE BE TO THE CRUEL FORCES attacking him without any FEAR OF GOD ALMIGHTY! DSAI, ALLAH will protect you for your sacrifices.

    Comment by Faz — February 6, 2014 @ 10:33 AM | Reply

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